Very often, efforts to improve customer experience focus on alleviating some area of inconvenience, effort, or frustration that customers may be feeling today.
Realizing the full benefit and impact that will come from fixing these problems requires an understanding of how significant the problems are for customers today, both the practical impact and also the emotional one.
At my company, FROM, one of the key tools we use to get customer feedback is observational research whereby we video customers engaged in, for example, shopping experiences and document the problems they face. Using clips of these real customer experiences can be a powerful tool to bring stakeholders on board, and it’s especially valuable for more senior stakeholders. Employees who face off with customers every day are often well aware of the challenges that customers deal with because they observe them directly. But to senior managers who may not be as close to customers, can be more abstract.
For example, at one client we conducted research where customers tried to book business trips on the client’s travel website. Certain steps in the process were confusing to some customers. Sharing “picture in picture” curated video reels that showed both the screen recording of what the subject was doing as well as the camera showing their synchronized facial expressions made it clear how much frustration, annoyance, and disappointment the confusing interface was creating.
Seeing these real people in pain creates empathy on the part of stakeholders and makes them more motivated to support solving the problem. In addition, it becomes more obvious that negative emotional experiences of that magnitude are probably impacting sales, and therefore fixing them is not just “nice” to do but something that will yield tangible results.